Uplifting performance by local pupils for National Children’s Choir
Three schools came together for the Westmeath Regional Concert of the National Children’s Choir on Thursday last, May 11, in the Cathedral of Christ the King, Mullingar. The concert series was set up by Seán Creamer in 1985, and since that year almost 100,000 children have taken part.
This year, the schools involved were St Kenny NS, Kilpatrick, St Etchen’s NS, Kinnegad, and Scoil na gCeithre Máistrí, Athlone.
The concert involved children from the three schools performing a selection of 15 songs in English, Irish, Latin Italian, Spanish, and Slovakian.
Many of the songs required a high level of technical ability to perform, involving multi-part singing. The children were accompanied by a talented orchestra, whose playing beautifully complemented the children’s voices.
The children and orchestra were directed with expertise by Mrs Joanna Fagan of St Kenny NS. Teachers from the three schools introduced the songs and gave a little background information about each.
The songs covered a wide variety of genres and nationalities, from ‘Cúnnla’, an old Irish song dating from the 14th century, to ‘Dobru Noc’ a traditional Slovakian air, and the more contemporary ‘Take a Chance on Me’ by Abba and ‘With or Without You’ by U2.
This last song was dedicated to the memory of Mr Arthur Fallon, the late principal of St Kenny NS. Arthur had been deeply involved in the National Children’s Choir, and as a talented musician himself, played bassoon with the orchestra. In a moving tribute to Arthur’s memory, his bassoon was placed on a chair in the midst of the orchestra.
Local businesses generously donated prizes to a raffle held at the end of the event. Proinsias Ó Fearghail, principal of St. Kenny NS, said on behalf of his school and his colleagues: “We are very grateful to these businesses and also to Bishop Tom Deenihan and Fr Phil Gaffney for kindly allowing us to make use of the Cathedral, which was a fitting setting for such a lovely occasion.
“The audience were immensely appreciative, clapping enthusiastically after each song and paying the children the tribute of a standing ovation at the end of the concert.
“At the end of the night, flowers were presented to Joanna Fagan and the orchestra. Flowers were also presented to Paula Canning of St Kenny NS in tribute to her work in organising the behind the scenes elements of the concert.”
Mr Eoin Ó Crofaigh, principal of Scoil na gCeithre Maistrí, thanked everyone after the last song, on his behalf and on behalf of Ms Deirdre Hannon, principal of St Etchen’s NS, and Mr Ó Fearghail of St Kenny NS. He also extended thanks to the boards of management of the three schools for facilitating the concert.